Issue July 5, 2011

Operation Tree Hug

The U.S. military is embracing alternative energy — but not because of climate change. Up to half of the yearly American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan have been incurred guarding fuel convoys, and the Pentagon will no longer tolerate oil’s “burden in blood.”

… Plans have been approved for dozens of solar-power installations at bases around the world, and testing is ongoing for combat technologies such as an electric hybrid dune buggy for special forces, mobile factories that turn battle-zone waste into renewable fuel, and portable hybrid generators and smart “microgrids” that provide instant green power for far-flung outposts.” —Sierra Magazine

Meanwhile, on a mountaintop in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, Marine Capt. Derrick Planet addresses his troops:

I want you all to know I appreciate your patience as we get up to speed on installing this solar gear. I think we can all agree it’s been well worth it. These photovoltaics might not have the sweet smell of fossil fuels, but you’ve got to admit it’s nice not getting your ass blown through your windpipe on a fuel convoy. And without those noisy generators, the insurgents can’t locate us so easily. Besides, the peace and quiet is a nice change of pace, other than being able to hear Jones over there in his bunk spanking his Taliban every night.

All right, pipe down. Just yankin’ your chain, Jones. Listen up, everybody. The Pentagon is now ready to implement phase two of Operation Tree Hug, and it’s my job to ensure compliance at this camp. We’re going balls to the wall on this military environmentalism, and I want everybody on board. Please be aware that all of the following new procedures are to begin immediately and continue until the military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2026 (or, as the president likes to call it, “2014”).

First up, all toilet paper is now 100 percent recycled, 80 percent post-consumer grade. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s actually quite soft and fluffy. Give it a whirl before you complain — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

You’ve probably also noticed the color-coded recycling bins the Pentagon has sent over. Please sort your cans, bottles, newspaper and other recyclables, and don’t just toss them in the garbage. There’ve been some questions about plastics, and I’m told that all numbers 1 through 7 are now recyclable. Just rinse ’em out, first, please. Oh, and the mess-tent personnel asked me to remind everybody: No meat scraps in the compost!

We’re also switching all light bulbs to compact fluorescent — they take a little getting used to, but the Pentagon expects to save $7 trillion over the next two years. If you ask me, they should stop paying $975 per light bulb, but I’m just a company commander and not a procurement officer, so what do I know?

Next, you’ll notice that all of our tents from here on out are going to be LEED certified. That means the tents will be constructed from recycled, used or sustainable materials, as well as non-toxic caulk and sealers. This holistic approach makes for not only a greener planet but also provides a more pleasant tent to come home to after a long day of patrolling the perimeter and killing insurgents. Details aren’t ready at this time, but look for an announcement about an upcoming camp-wide contest to design the loveliest tent-top garden.

OK, this next one is going to take some getting used to, but please keep an open mind. As you may have seen, we now have 50 new hybrid Prisuses (with solar roof and touch tracer display). Don’t worry, we’re not getting rid of our Humvees yet, but we do ask that you requisition one of the armored Priuses unless you absolutely need a Humvee when you go out. They’re actually quite fun to drive!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This is quite an investment in sustainable fighting and renewable energies, especially solar power. After all, if we’re not fighting for oil, why are we here? Well, as usual, the Pentagon is one step ahead of you. As of 0600 this morning, our commander in chief has launched a new war to protect America’s interests abroad. Way abroad. I’m proud to announce that today, the United States of America invaded the sun! Thanks to this new mission, we’ll have plenty of solar power to fight our wars long into the future. Now, get back out there and make me proud …